Word in the blogosphere is that it’s best to post your year in review by the last week of December, socially acceptable by the first week of January – absolutely no later than January 15th. Well, I just celebrated Chinese New Year in San Francisco so I think this is right on time.
The first thing I want to say about 2015 is that I could not possibly have accomplished as much as I did without the unwavering support from all of you – my incredible friends and family. Your acceptance of my wild gypsy life, often into your homes for weeks at a time, has given me the chance to live this year chasing adventure on sheer impulse.
2015 was a massive year of change. I hardly spent longer than 10 days anywhere. This taught me how to find solace and security in myself – that home is not a place, but a state of mind. I have learned that as much as I can hope and wish and plan, the universe has plotted its own course. I may be captain of this ship, but these are uncharted waters with squalls and surf abound. I may have a vision of my destination – and by god I will get there – but this life is definitely a journey. Any time I think I’ve got everything under control I get a swift kick in the ass to remind me otherwise.
I am barraged with an abundance of jokes about how I have come to live this nomadic life. Am I a drug mule? Did I inherit a family fortune or secretly win the lottery? And, my favorite, I’m actually a dotcom billionaire, which means I would have made my silicon valley riches at the ripe old age of 10, hacking prime.
The truth is, I very intentionally designed and chose this life. With a leap of faith I built a business that I can take anywhere, moved out of my apartment, and decided that I am going to pursue all opportunities that come to me.
Let me let you in on a little secret: I am not built for an office.
A lot of people find comfort in the security of a stability. I, howver, inhabit the polar opposite end of the spectrum. I thrive in uncertainty and excitement, and I have an unnaturally high tolerance for risk. For me, five soul-suffocating days a week from 9-5 is a death sentence. Even still I would suffer through it and walk to the beach twice a day, but I was acutely aware that someone else owned my time. Regardless of my productivity or innovation, I was required to be somewhere. But fear also gripped me, and there was absolutely never a shred of my imagination that would have thought I could work for my self. It took having a sexist, ageist, racist, asshole boss that would scream at his admiring staff (that would work until 1 am most of the week), and call me a bitch in front of my clients (which he also referred to behind their backs as cunts), for me to realize that life is really fucking short and I was suffocating in a job that I hated in order to have an exciting life in the future (hope you’re reading this, Matt, statute of limitations isn’t up yet!). While I slaved away helping someone else achieve their financial freedom, my dreams were fading.
And so, two and a half years ago, my business as a marketing and brand strategy consultant was born. Although I had no idea what I was doing (still don’t), I promised myself that I would be committed to excellent work and growing my clients’ businesses, but that no one would ever own my time again. In March of 2015, when the apartment I was renting sold to one of my ex-boyfriend’s best friends, (how do you like them apples?), I packed everything but my backpack into storage and took off for Southeast Asia.
I didn’t plan for my entire year to be on the road. Then again, I didn’t plan much. There were commitments I had made that I wasn’t going to miss - weddings, babies being born, etc - but this year, I chose to hold a vision of my goals and let the universe plot the course. I could not have asked for more adventure, more love, or more tesscapades.
The path I have chosen is not easy - I have worked harder than I ever have in my entire life, hosted video conferences in the Kuala Lumpur bathroom at 4 am, checked into the most expensive hotels in just to get strong enough internet to transfer art files, and pulled more all nighters than both high school and college combined. But this is my life, I chose it, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
- Added 14 stamps to my passport, visited 42 cities, and stopped counting after my 50th flight in August
- Dug fresh water hot tubs in the sand on a beach in Baja, complete with illegal fireworks and phosphorescent waves
- Ate shit zip-lining into cenotes in the Yucatan
- Learned to drive on the left side of the road in Sydney, during rush hour traffic
- Got my PADI, under the sea, in an octopus’s garden in Thailand, Indo, and the Philippines.
- Swam with whale sharks, stingrays, and dolphins
- Sailed through the limestone islands of Bai Tu Long Bay in the South China Sea on a Junk Boat
- Broke bread among stalactites and stalagmites in a candle-lit cave in Vietnam, complete with flashing toilet
- Got up close and personal with a four foot long monitor lizard choking down a fish skeleton, in my birthday suit
- Refined my body-painting prowess with glow in the dark paint at the Full moon party in Koh Phanyang
- Mastered the art of driving a motorbike in Southeast Asia
- Climbed the temples of Bagan for sunrise
- Channeled my inner tomb raider at Angkor Wat
- Got lost in the jungles of Cambodia, and found the country’s oldest carved elephant
- Learned how to properly wear an abaya and hijab at the National Mosque of Malaysia
- Had a life-changing epiphany mid hot stone massage while monkey’s broke into the spa perimeter and started throwing roof tiles
- Chased proboscis monkeys through the mangroves of Borneo
- Watched a monkey eat a dirty diaper
- Watched a different monkey steal my rain poncho and piss on my motorbike at the same time
- Learned that I don’t like monkeys at all
- Stood next to my best friend while she married her true partner in life and in crime, overlooking Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach
- Fell completely head over heels in love with Bali, even though I get Bali Belly every damn time
- Dined al fresco under the stars at Dîner en Blanc Honolulu
- Shared a glass of Haig with David Beckham in London
- Sailed around Thailand with 200 friends on the yacht week, in a unicorn suit
- Sampled the world’s most renown street food in Penang
- Discovered my insatiable passion for flying airplanes - and this one is important, because as of this post, I’m driving from Seattle to San Diego to finish my Private Pilot’s License. Stay tuned for #tesscapades in the sky!